Computer programmers follow designs created by software developers and engineers to write code and create new software programs that computers can easily read. Computer programmers are typically responsible for writing software in a variety of computer languages, updating existing programs, debugging programs to fix errors, creating computer-assisted software engineering tools, and using code libraries to simply the code writing processes.
How much does a computer programmer make? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 316,790 computer programmers employed throughout the United States in May 2012 earned an average yearly computer programmer salary of $78,260, which is equivalent to a mean hourly wage of $37.63.
While the bottom 10% earned $42,850 or less, the top ten percent of computer programmers bring home a sizeable six-figure salary of $117,890+ each year. Computer programmers employed in software publishing make slightly more than average at $83,740, but those that work for securities and commodity brokerages are the highest paid with a salary of $100,740. The top-paying states are Washington and the District of Columbia, where computer programmers are compensated with an annual wage of $93,380 and $90,960 respectively.
The majority of computer programmers, around 32 percent, are employed in the computer systems designed and related services industry. Others may find employment in information services, financing firms, insurance companies, administrative or support services, and government agencies. Most computer programmers are employed on a full-time basis within an office setting. Although they normally work independently, some are hired to work closely with other computer specialists on larger programming projects. Since codes can be written from anywhere with a computer, some professional programmers telecommute from a home office.
Since computer programming can technically be conducted from anywhere in the world, many corporations outsource to hire programmers in countries with lower wages and limit the number of workers being employed on American soil. However, some job growth is expected as new applications will have to be developed for recent trends in mobile technology and electronics. Employment for computer programmers is predicted to increase as fast as the national average for all occupations at a rate of 12 percent between 2010 and 2020.